Skills and Requirements Needed to Become a Nutritionist

Nutrition is the consumption of food materials of cells and organisms in order to support life. When individuals do receive adequate nutrition, common health problems can be avoided or alleviated. Nutritionists are educated and trained professionals who are experts in food and healthy eating. They assess clients’ lifestyle and eating habits and based on the clients’ goals, they prescribe meal plans for them to follow in order to meet those goals. Nutritionists’ other responsibilities include advising clients on different foods and their added health benefits when these foods are consumed; explaining nutrition information and why it is so important to lead a healthy lifestyle; developing individualized meal plans for clients to follow; evaluating the effects of healthy eating by their clients; promoting optimal nutrition and healthy eating habits; and conducting research in the nutritional science field.

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a nutritionist should possess a number of skills and qualities essential in this field. Nutritionists should have a passion for food and learning about their properties. They should follow a healthy lifestyle since this is what they preach to their clients. Clients will not be able to trust them if their nutritionist does not follow the same healthy eating habits they are prescribing. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are important. Patients discuss current eating habits and health issues they are dealing with and nutritionists must determine a course of action. Based on the patient’s medical history, nutritionists must develop a meal plan which would benefit the patient and aid with their health issues. Because they spend a substantial amount of time interacting with clients, nutritionists must have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. They must speak to clients in terminology which they will be able to understand. They generally work with a number of different clients therefore nutritionists must have organizational skills and be able to keep their clients’ records and documents in order.

In order to become a nutritionist, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or food science. This four-year program educates students in areas such as biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, food sciences, metabolism, anatomy, physiology, nutrition therapy, disease etiology, epidemiology, and pathology. During this program, students learn about the biochemistry of food and how it has physiological effects as well as an influence on health and illness. Upon completion of this program, students may obtain professional work as a nutritionist.

Those who encompass those skills and qualities mentioned above, as well as excel in the bachelor’s degree program in nutrition or food science, will no doubt be successful in this challenging but satisfying profession.

The following links are related to pursuing a career as a nutritionist.

http://www.educationchoices.com/

http://careerplanning.about.com/od/dietitianandnutritionist/tp/how-to-become-a-dietitian.htm

http://psychologyofeating.com/become-a-nutritionist/

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Helen Immelstadt

About Helen Immelstadt

About The Author: Helen Immelstadt has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She has worked in the psychology and medical field for over 27 years and has an extensive background in writing. She is currently working as a freelance writer while also writing her book about online psychology programs.

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